Signal People


Signal PeopleNik Heerens (International Programmes Manager)







Signal PeopleSuzanne Freegard (International Programmes Assistant)

Suzanne studied foreign languages and literature and social science at Cambridge and Birmingham universities, focussing her Master’s dissertation on international aid in the post-Soviet space. She has worked in the fields of logistics and journalism. She also has a history of and continuing involvement with local anti-poverty, human rights and environmental advocacy groups and has served on the Council of a national NGO. Suzanne volunteered at Signal before joining the team as a staff member, and she thrives on witnessing the positive differences that the charity’s work makes. She is also proud to be a member of the management committee of the volunteer-run Shropshire Disability Network.


Signal PeopleJoanne Rose (Outreach Worker)

Joanne has been employed as an Outreach Worker with Signal and its predecessor the Shropshire Deafness Association since 2009, working to improve communication with the deaf community, of which she is an active member. She provides support, signposting and representation for a variety of deaf clients. Joanne became deaf at an early age and communicates through speech and sign. She was educated at the Royal School for the Deaf in Exeter and the Mary Hare Grammar School.


Anna Mackenzie (Project Officer)

Since graduating as a Trainee Sign Language Interpreter from the University of Wolverhampton in 2018, Anna has been passionate about both the Deaf Community and people living with the effects of hearing loss. Having volunteered in several different Deaf charities she was keen to join the Signal Team. The variety that this role brings allows Anna to provide practical and emotional support to both the Deaf and hard of hearing communities in Shropshire. Anna is enthusiastic to participate in making an impact on the people’s lives that Signal support.


Sarah Thomas (Volunteer & Peer Support Coordinator)Sarah Thomas Photo

Sarah has spent much of her life volunteering and fundraising for various local and national charities, including the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Carers UK and Shropshire Rural Communities Charity. During university, she secured a placement in Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust’s Audiology department and has long held an interest in this area due to her father’s severe hearing loss and tinnitus. Sarah loves the variety that her role at Signal brings, and as such took on the additional role of tinnitus support group facilitator in January 2019.


Cat photo

Catriona Nicholls (Programme Lead)

Having worked in marketing for over 15 years, Catriona brings with her a range of skills including business planning, project management, communications and public relations. Catriona is delighted to be working for Signal and enjoys using her skills to make a positive difference to the people we support.



Signal PeopleSteph Jones (Finance Officer)

Steph is an experienced finance professional and has been working within the private sector at Manager level for the last 10 years. Steph has wanted to work within the charity sector for some time and has enjoyed volunteering in the past for several different charities. Steph joined Signal on a part-time basis in 2019 and is a valuable addition to the team.


We are overseen by a Board of Trustees. The Board oversees the working of the charity and makes sure that the funding that we receive is used in the most effective way.

Signal Charity PeopleMartin James (Chairman)

Martin moved to Shrewsbury in 1981 to become a teacher at Kingsland Grange Preparatory School for Boys. After a 28-year career, of which 20 years were spent as Head Teacher, he left to become the Community Development Manager of Shrewsbury Town Football Club in 2009. This role enabled him to network with organisations and individuals across the community. His work revolved around getting the football club into the community and the community into the football club, so that many initiatives were supported that will make a difference to people’s lives. Projects involving health, education, social inclusion and sports participation were implemented in partnership with other organisations within Shropshire. In August 2012 he became Head of Community Development and Head of Human Resources at the football club. In June 2014 Martin moved to the role of PR and Communications Executive for the Greenhous Group, a motor vehicle fleet and retail dealerships across Shropshire.

Signal Charity PeopleDavid Tudor MBE (Deputy Chairman)

David spent his career working in London in the education sector. He worked in both state and independent schools, latterly as Headmaster at Forest School where the pupil numbers doubled under his headship. David returned to Shropshire after he retired and settled back in Shrewsbury, becoming a committed member of the local community including the Shropshire Wildlife Trust, Shrewsbury Drapers Company and St Chad’s Church. David brings a wealth of management experience to Signal’s Board. In 2016 he was awarded an MBE for his services to charity and the community in Shrewsbury.

Andrew Pugh ACCA (Treasurer)

Andrew has nearly 20 years’ accountancy experience working in both practice as an auditor (internal and external) and in industry (sport, education, IT sectors) and has held previous Trustee roles for charitable organisations. Originally from Shrewsbury, Andrew has a keen interest in the benefits Signal provides locally but also in its national and international capacity. Through being part of an already successful team Andrew hopes to support Signal into the future through his financial and commercial experience.

Jayne Northcott Hammond

Jayne is a nurse by profession and has worked in a range of posts and various areas of nursing, including in the NHS and the private sector, as a manager, trainer and NVQ assessor. At various times in her career, Jayne has lived and worked in Europe and Hong Kong. She has for many years been resident and worked in Shropshire.
Jayne also has progressive hearing loss due to otosclerosis, an inherited genetic condition; she grew up in a family of members with severe to profound deafness. She therefore has great understanding of managing her own daily life with impaired hearing.
As a trustee for Signal, Jayne hopes to bring experiences, both personal and professional, to those people that Signal strives to serve.